Renault Koleos 2017

Spacious and well-furnished.

The Koleos is another SUV, so the chances are it should do okay in terms of sales. Why? Well, because SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) are amazingly popular in the UK. It also gives the Gallic car firm a good reason to finalise its SUV family. This means that if you’re presently driving a CAPTUR or Kadjar, you could work your way up towards a bigger Koleos.

The Koleos’ major challenger is the well-liked Nissan X-Trail. The word ‘challenger’ might be a bit over-the-top because both the Koleos and the X-Trail are perched on identical platforms. In truth, if you think of the all-new Koleos as a Nissan X-Trail with make-up added, you wouldn’t be too far from the plot.

And things are pleasingly unassuming with the Koleos SUV, too. It comes with a selection of diesel engines, but no petrol units are available. You get a front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre dCI 130 with a six-speed manual transmission. Or you can have a four-wheel drive 2.0-litre dCI 175 that’s hooked up to a manual gearbox, or a seven-speed Auto X-Tronic ‘box. I drove the more muscular oil-burner in automatic form – the model forecast to be the best-seller in the United Kingdom.

The all-new 2017 Koleos won’t rock your socks, but it’s a civilised enough SUV. It looks too like much other Sport Utility Vehicles in the automotive arena – most obviously the Skoda Kodiaq, but it’s an imposing motor, nonetheless. I sat behind the wheel of the star trim level – the Signature Nav, which has a liberal amount of equipment, embracing fat 19-inch alloys, a sat-nav with a touchscreen and leather-encased seats. 

The Koleos’ infotainment unit, accessed by means of the touchscreen is easy to understand, and the French SUV is real-world, offering, for example, cubby holes and four USB ports. Furthermore, the Renault is fitted out with soft-to-the-touch plastics and the leather swathing the seats and steering wheel is top quality.

The flagship 2.0 dCi 175 AWD X-Tronic Renault Koleos I got behind the tiller of really is a fine motor, in terms of cabin refinement and tech. The interior layout is well considered for driver and passengers, and the room is more than reasonable. The wheelbase is equal to the Nisan X-Trail’s, measuring 2,705mm – and this gives splendid legroom. Even better, Renault’s boot is 29 litres larger than the X-Trail’s, at 579 litres. But, take a measuring stick to the comparable Kodiaq, and the Skoda’s load area is 630 litres. Never mind, you can’t have it all. Oddly, Renault isn’t making its Koleos available as a seven-seater, though. This could be an issue for some, as the Czech-manufactured Kodiaq is produced with seven seats.

On the move, the Koleos is well-mannered and easy to love. 62mph from a standing start can be done in 9.5 seconds and the speedo needle will reach 125mph. This means the SUV has plenty of ‘shove’ for overtakes or for motorway commutes. The Koleos has 174 horses fighting for attention under its lid to give such muscle, and this helps haul the Koleos along, even with five adults and a fully loaded boot.

The Koleos’ automatic gearbox isn’t too bad, even though it’s a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This means the transmission changes through a constant array of ratios. Unhappily, CVTs don’t always work as flawlessly as they should, resulting in a rather spasmodic driving experience. Still, I’m pleased to say Renault has wedged an advanced CVT into the Koleos, and this uses tech to mimic a sequential ‘box. This makes the car unproblematic to operate.

The Renault’s ride is comfy, with its forgiving suspension making you all but disregard the presence of potholes. But the squashy springs don’t ruin the handling; if anything, the Koleos comes across as planted and predictable. The SUV I drove had all-wheel-drive, so I also piloted it off the black stuff. Because the Koleos has decent ground clearance I could urge it over hummocks and stones without fear of tearing bits off its underbelly. Additionally, the Koleos All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) holds well in sludge and anything not resembling blacktop. It’s not a Land Rover, but it’s a great boon to have if you reside in the sticks, or you plan on carting a tin-tent to a lush caravan park or whatever.

The all-new 2017 Renault Koleos is a vehicle that is spacious and well-furnished. It also flies the opulent SUV flag for the French brand. This means it could entice customers who are looking for a comfortable car with French finesse and off-road prowess.

Pros ‘n’ Cons

  • Comfy √
  • Sophisticated √
  • Powerful √
  • Off-Road Aptitude √
  • Wishy-washy Looks X

Fast Facts (2.0 dCi 175 AWD X-Tronic 2017 - as tested)

  • Max speed: 125 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 9.5 secs
  • Combined mpg: 47.9
  • Engine layout: 1995cc four-cylinder diesel turbo
  • Max. power (PS): 174
  • CO2: 156 g/km          
  • Price: £34,200

Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.

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